Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:7:27) in the Alderaan system: Delaya (Leiliani: Rodney Castle), in the Essesia system: Esseles (New Calamar: Claudius Rodney's estate), and in the New Alderaan system New Alderaan (New Aldera: Mug Zoran's homestead).
Doctor Alessandra Bailo, El-Nay Darr, Ewwiekewwieikkie, Melickielickie, Callista Nilar, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, Lady Drusilla Rodney, Duke Marcus Rodney, Major Sierra Rodney, Duchess Zara Rodney, RO-E11, and Doctor Pilaq Tohan.

Alessandra Bailo had been gone for three days. In that time, she had returned to her homeship, Jubilee, and asked that the unused medical equipment be loaded into her ship to be taken back to New Alderaan. After pleading her case, which took far longer than the old Ithorian had liked, she received the equipment and made her way back to New Alderaan. There, the Rebels unloaded the equipment and used it to strengthen their makeshift medical center. Doctor Bailo was pleased with these improvements. The people of New Aldera needed help too. It didn't matter whose ‘side' they were on, Alessandra wanted to help.

It seemed like the Ithorian was finally getting a chance to catch her breath. She sat in the gazebo behind Iyah Xergo and Mug Zoran's home drinking tea. Her mood had improved significantly since arriving. She thought New Aldera was a beautiful place. The skies had yet to be touched with pollution, and nature was alive all around them. She could hear birds singing while she relaxed. "It's wonderful here, isn't it?" Alessandra asked her companion.

Doctor Pilaq Tohan was wearing a canvas hat, with a wide brim, to keep the sun out of his face as he dug in the garden. "Did you ever visit old Alderaan?" he called to her, as he gently placed the seedlings into the small hole he had dug. He knew that the plants and vegetables he planted today would long outlast him and that gave him some semblance of hope for the future. "It is on the way to wonderful, but will require a great deal of effort from the people here," he said, as he carefully lay the soil over the now filled hole. "And a bit of luck and good fortune that the Empire does not learn of its existence," he said, with a tired and anxious sigh. He had seen so much death and pain in recent years, but nothing compared to the destruction of an entire planet.

She rose from the gazebo slowly. Without the young Callista, it was so quiet around Mug and Iyah's home. She heard that Callista was serving the King of Skor II. Alessandra had not been on New Alderaan when the Squibs came to collect on Callista's deal, but she had heard many stories. Carefully, Alessandra squatted down beside Pilaq to look at his garden. She placed a hand on his shoulder. There was much to be worried about for this settlement. The Empire had destroyed Alderaan in a heartbeat. Without a doubt, they would do it again to this sacred place. "It is good that there are people like Jelena Rodney to sow their own seeds. I visited Alderaan many times throughout the years. It was a beautiful planet as well... It is such a shame..." She hung her head, shaking it slowly. No sooner had she began to feel sad did her comlink begin to beep. "Oh my. What could that be?" She stood upright and made her way over to it with growing worry. "It is Marcus Rodney." She commented.

Pilaq blinked his large, bulbous eyes when Alessandra informed him that Marcus Rodney was attempting to reach them. "I hope something has not happened to the twins ... *again*," he said, with a level of concern. "Well, delaying bad news does not mean the bad news does not exist," he informed her, before nodding his head to her. "Answer it," he told her, before murmuring softly from both of his mouths. It seemed the events surrounding the House of Rodney never ceased.

After the comm was activated there was a brief sound of static before the voice of Duke Marcus Rodney was heard. "Doctor Tohan? Doctor Bailo? This is Marcus Rodney," he informed them, not sounding entirely himself, as he had only recently been delivered some *very* unexpected news. "I need you to come to Delaya, or we need to come to New Alderaan. Zara is in need of a checkup," he told them, but went into no greater detail. He was remarkably cryptic, as he did not want to reveal he assumed Zara was pregnant simply because his Squib niece smelled something.

Alessandra answered the call a second later. Her worries first centered on the twins. "Hello?" It was hard to hear him at first. After spending some time around the royal family surrounding the birth of the twins, she felt that Marcus didn't sound as chipper as usual. She began to fear for the worst. "We are both here." She told him calmly. Her eyes fell. Something was wrong with Zara? The last time she had seen the Duchess, Alessandra had verified that she was suffering from a concussion. "Ohno." She gasped with both of her mouths. "We will be there immediately, milord." She promised, forgetting to turn off the comm as she fumbled to stand back up on two feet. "It's Zara. I worry for her. After she and Marcus returned with their daughter, they were both injured." She explained to Pilaq, offering him her hands to help him up. "The Duchess had suffered from some head injuries." Sadly, Marcus hadn't provided them with additional details. All they could do was worry that the hammer had fallen down on the House of Rodney again.

"Hmm," Pilaq murmured, as he considered what the best course of action was. He, too, was concerned for the wellbeing of Zara. Despite her youth she was already a parent to two children, but was repeatedly suffering from strange industries. He had known Marcus Rodney most of his life, and never believed him to be a violent man, so he doubted it was domestic violence. Still, there was something in Marcus' voice that led him to believe that there was more information than had been revealed to them. "We must go to Delaya and see to her, but ... on the ground floor," he informed Alessandra, as he began to collect his things. "Duchess or no Duchess I will not ascend the staircase again," he said, before slamming the base of his staff into the ground to emphasize his point.

"On the ground floor," Alessandra agreed. Pilaq had been in worse condition after the birth of the twins than during the ordeal with the Inquisitor aboard Lord Claudius' ship. It was part of her duties to see to it that Pilaq was being taken care of properly. Together, they left Alderaan behind for the Imperial-occupied Delaya...

"Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh!" Duchess Zara Rodney was seated in the garden in Rodney Castle. "They should be here soon, Marcus. That'll determine if we're getting an Auntie Mae's kiosk in the castle or not." The young Duchess joked. She wore a wide grin on her face. Nana was still tasked with caring for the children while she and her husband let their excitement grow past realistic expectation. "We had lots of fun on our anniversary. Maybe your troopers were as happy as we were." Zara commented, glancing away from him towards the landing pad where she expected the Ithorian doctors to land. Her smile went even bigger. She couldn't wait to see the couple that she credited herself with creating.

Marcus Rodney alway wanted to be a father, but until he met Zara he never believed he would be a good father. She gave him confidence. She filled his heart with a love he never before imagined. He felt he had done a great job since Darrus and Sia had arrived, and had even learned to change a diaper in an under an hour. When it was suggested she might be pregnant again he was surprised, but he was happy. However, after a day with Callista, Ewwiekewwieikkie, and Melickielickie he was becoming worn down. As long as a Squib did not emerge from Zara's womb he would be okay, but if a Squib did come he would have a bone to pick with the King.

Alessandra Bailo was carrying Doctor Tohan's medical bag. They were both moving as quickly as they could ... which wasn't all that fast at all. "At least they agreed to come to the ground floor." She said. It came as a relief to see the Duchess. Zara certainly looked better than the last time she had seen the woman. In fact, Zara Rodney was absolutely glowing. She wondered why they had been summoned if she was in such high spirits. "Milord, milady." She bowed her head as soon as she was close enough to them. "What seems to be the problem?" Alessandra looked up and down her slowly. She did not suspect that Marcus was abusing his wife. He did not strike her as that kind of man. Doctor Bailo still opened up the medical bag and prepared to help in any way she could.

Moving as quickly as quickly as he could was now slow for the average Ithorian. When he saw that Duchess Zara looked alright he curled his fingers against his walking stick and stopped moving. "Hmm," he said, as he looked towards Doctor Bailo. He knew Zara was both a teenage girl and a newly minted noblewoman. He could certainly see her overreacting or feeling entitled to special treatment, but if this was a hangnail he was going to get right back on the ship. "Are you alright, milady?" he asked, hoping that something worthwhile was wrong to get him out of his garden on New Alderaan and traveling across the galaxy for concierge medicine.

"Pilaq!" Zara hopped up to her feet quickly. She wrapped her arms around the old doctor and gave him a tight squeeze. It was hard to believe that, at one point, she hadn't been comfortable around him. "I'm okay, I promise. We needed you to come as soon as possible because..." Zara began, releasing Pilaq from her grasp so she could hold her husband's hand. "Ewwiekewwieikkie says I'm pregnant!" No sooner had Zara declared it to the Ithorians did she realize how insane she sounded. "Which, ahem, is crazy business *obviously*..." Zara thought that Marcus wasn't just a ‘good' father, she thought he was the *best* father. Each time she saw him interacting with the twins, it made her melt inside. Of all the wrong decisions she had made in her life, Marcus Rodney was the single right decision. She couldn't imagine what it would be like to have *three* Zarcus babies running around, as she was already a sucker for Sia and Darrus. "So I was hoping maybe you could give us a medical answer. I saw Ewwiekewwieikkie eat like century old candy today. I think we need a second opinion."

Pilaq knew when he was receiving a hug that something was coming. He unleashed a content groan, taking his arms and wrapping them around Zara. However, not even the best of hugs could have prepared him for what was about to come next. "Ewwiekewwieikkie ... again..." he said, as he looked towards Doctor Bailo for guidance. He backed up through the garden until he found a stone bench to sit upon, using the opportunity to rest and process the word that he had just heard. "I have never known her nose to be wrong," he admitted, reluctantly, as he gave Marcus a 'you should know better' look. "Doctor Bailo, will you be so kind as to confirm the Squib's odorific evaluation," he asked of her, as his fingers curled and then uncurled around his walking stick.

Alessandra's mouths dropped. She could not believe what she was hearing from the mouth of the teenaged Duchess. This was not the first time she had heard someone proclaim that the Squib had confirmed a pregnancy. She thought of Sierra, Claudius, and their ever expanding family. After over a decade, it seemed that fertility had blessed the House of Rodney. "Ooh.." She grasped Pilaq gently to help him towards the bench. "Another pregnancy?" She asked in awe. The old Ithorian flagged down a nearby servant and asked that water be brought for her companion. "Yes, yes. Let's see if Ewwiekewwieikkie is right again. . ." She made her way back over to the Duchess.

Zara had not thought that the news might kill the family doctor. She had been too happy to consider anything other than the possibility of a baby. "What do you mean ‘again'?" She looked nervous for Pilaq. She never wanted to hurt the old Doctor. Zara removed her hands from her lap and sat back to give Doctor Bailo the access she needed. She watched Alessandra find her tool within the medical bag. "I'm so happy. Marcus is the best daddy ever. We all love him so much." Especially Sia. Zara saw the way their baby girl looked at Marcus. She was a daddy's girl from day one.

"Hmm..." Alessandra bent over the young woman. "Your sister also came to see us when we were aboard the Retributor. Ewwiekewwieikkie had claimed another child was coming...she was correct. It is likely that you are pregnant too, milady." She turned on the device. For a full three minutes, she quietly examined the Duchess. At the end, she turned off the device and smiled. "There is no doubt, milady. The nose knows. Congratulations."

"Oh how wonderful, Zara. We did it ... *again*!" Marcus shouted, as he came up behind his wife, placed one arm on the small of her back, and wrapped the other one around her. He lowered his head and began to kiss her cheek and the side of her face. "I love you so much," he said, before turning his attention to the doctors. "Thank you for coming," he said, as he extended a hand gently to Doctor Bailo. Rather than make Doctor Tohan come to him, he excused himself, briefly, from Zara's side and moved to the venerable old Ithorian. "A father for the third time," he said, as he wrapped both of his arms delicately around the old man.

"Congratulations, milady," Pilaq said to Zara, but as Marcus came over to him and gave him a hug he considered his next words carefully. When the hug broke he quickly moved the head of his walking stick to strike Marcus directly on the head. "You should let your young wife get some rest. She has two babies to take care of, but you cannot keep your hands to yourself. Now she has to take care of two twins, barely grown, while coping with another pregnancy. Shame!" he declared, as he shook his head at the Duke.

Zara could have never guessed that she would learn that she was pregnant today. Ewwiekewwieikkie had been so sweet to give her the ice cream for the baby. Doctor Bailo had confirmed that it was true; another baby was on the way. Zara had worked herself into such a state of happiness that it would have been disappointing for the examination to go any other way. "Marcus!" She squeaked. Her hands both rested on his arm and squeezed him tightly. Her head turned to shower him with kisses. "I love you! Thank you for making more perfect babies with me." She turned her attention to Doctor Bailo to jabber all about her new pregnancy, and her wonderful twins. She could overhear Pilaq ragging on Marcus, which made her laugh. It wasn't always Marcus who couldn't keep his hands to himself. Zara loved her intimacy, as evident by her holovid.

Doctor Bailo worried for the young Duchess, who was only seventeen now. She saw how happy the couple was. It reminded her that Zara had an excellent support system. Despite Marcus' physical condition during the birth of the twins, he had remained with his wife for every second of the physically taxing ordeal. They were going to be okay. She reached out, shaking the Duke's hand. "Congratulations. I look forward to meeting your next child." While she and Zara spoke, Doctor Bailo calculated Zara's expected due date, as well as how far along she was. She had not gotten far when she spotted Melickielickie standing right beside her, staring at the tool she was using. "Wowie wow." The little Squib exclaimed.

"Ugh. Ugh. Ugh," Ewwiekewwieikkie could be heard groaning as she waddles out into the garden. Her yellow eyes were wider than ever as she had gone to town eating all of the cakes that the nanny droid brought her, her sister, and her cousin. She was expecting just to see Marcus and Zara, but when she saw the two doctors she got extra excited. "You're here?! You're everywhere!" she declared, as she had seen Pilaq and Alessandra on Delaya, New Alderaan, and Esseles. She wondered if they were following her. Fearing that they were going to scold her for not eating healthy she had an idea. She began waddling into the garden and started eating flowers. "Yucky! Uh. I mean. Yummy!" she said, as she frowned, chewing the disgustingly flavored flowers. "See. I eat healthy," she told them, before falling down on her butt and rubbing her overfull tummy.

"...And you just left them here with Marcus and Zara?" Sierra Rodney asked El-Nay Darr as they searched through the castle for the girls. The kitchen had been the first place they searched for Sierra's adopted daughters. The kitchen was Squib-free, but the smell of freshly baked cakes lingered in the air. "They were here." Sierra determined, pointing out some stray blue hairs on the ground which could be found absolutely everywhere in the castle at this point. "But where did they go? It seems inhumane, but sometimes I wonder if I should put a tracker on those girls. Maybe a bracelet that also functions as a tracker." She suggested, continuing to search. The sooner she found her girls, the sooner they left for Esseles.

Callista Nilar came wandering out into the garden clutching her tummy. She was shocked to see Doctor Tohan in the castle. "*Doctor*"! She squeaked. With a burst of energy, she ran towards the old doctor and hugged him. "Doctor Tohan! I missed you soooooooooo much!" When she lifted her head from him, there was frosting caked on her cheeks, chin, and somehow it was in her hair. "Auntie Zara made us a bunch of cakes. It was yummy!" As she told him, she began to bounce.

"Well, I, uh, there were so many Squibs," El-Nay Darr began, stammering, trying to explain what happened. "We were just sitting in Auntie Mae's when the King arrived with an army and your niece and began ransacking the city. I think I even saw a Gungan," she told Sierra, as she tried to explain what happened. "Marc- the Duke and Duchess invited us to the castle and Zara allowed me to rest up after what happened," she said, scrambling as she tried to find the words. She stopped, exhaling beneath her distinct orange helmet, before letting her head fall in defeat. "I apologize, milady. I never should have left them. You should rest. I *will* find them," she vowed, as she begged forgiveness of the woman to whom she owed a life debt.

"Callista! Callista what are you doing here? We just left your house," Pilaq told her, as he returned her hug with his frail arms. "I was planting you a garden, but I was told you were on a diplomatic mission," he told her, sounding confused, as he thought her parents were using a euphemism. As he looked to Ewwiekewwieikkie in the garden and Callista, still covered in frosting, he raised his finger at Zara and began to chastise her. "Do these children eat anything but sweets?" he asked her, as he lowered his large, hammerhead and shook it.

The nanny droid was passing by when she heard the doctor's comment. "I told you so, Duchess Zara," she shot in the direction of Zara, as she arrived with Darrus and Sia. She found it a wonderful thing to have so many children back in the castle. It reminded her of the old days with so many of Germanicus and Ranei's children running about these corridors back when they were brand new.

"El-Nay... You know that story doesn't sound real, right?" Sierra laughed softly. By the damage in the city and the ice cream shortage, she was sure it was true. "Don't worry. We'll find them. Look, there's a trail." A trail of frosting footprints lead out to the garden. "Do you think it would be possible for me to squeeze into your armor?" She asked the Mandalorian. "After what we saw at the trial... I have so many questions. The only person who can answer those questions is Jelena. I want to go to see her, despite how dangerous it is." Her forehead knotted with worry. She was still processing the contents of the video.

"You planted me a garden?!" Callista gasped. "Awwww! Thank you, Doctor!! I'll water the flowers every day!" She hugged Pilaq again. "Big bantha hug! Rawwwrr!" The little girl gave him the tightest squeeze she could manage. "Are you gonna come home with me? I've never had a garden before. Will you teach me?" She didn't know she had gotten her aunt in trouble.

Zara crossed her arms in front of her chest. "Nu uh. You can't *both* team up on me. It's my job, as aunt to give the girls treats. It's their mommy's job to make sure they are eating a balanced diet. Oh, look! There she is now!" Zara pointed a finger towards Sierra as she appeared in the garden. "It's *her* fault that they are addicted to sweets. Go on! Team up on her!"

Grand Moff Claudius Rodney had been forced into his modified bounty hunter armor again. He was in his childhood home, which was by rights his, but he could not even show his face. He wanted to collect the children and return to Esseles, but *of course* El-Nay had misplaced them. He was furious, but he was not able to say a word, lest he be recognized. When he arrived in the garden to his surprise he saw just about everyone. There was Marcus and Zara, Pilaq and Alessandra, Ewwiekewwieikkie, Melickielickie, the nanny droid, and for some reason ... Callista. With the presence of the doctors he worried that someone might be injured or sick, but he could not ask what was going on.

"I swear it's true, milady," El-Nay replied, as she arrived at the garden with her. "There they are!" she said, as she spotted the children. "And there's Callista. I'm sorry, Ambassador Callista," she added, as she tried to place all of the blame on a five-year-old. She was never happy about an 'auretii', or outsider, wearing her armor, but she owed Sierra a debt, and she had lost the children. "Of course, milady," she said obediently, as she really was in no position to say no. Internally she was conflicted, and she knew that if Sierra were wearing her armor it also meant that she would not be going on the trip to protect her. "I suppose you'll need my ship too," she added, quietly, so that the others would not hear what was afoot.

The members of the family, minus the bastard, were all in the garden. Sierra's eyes briefly flickered towards her disguised husband. She felt her hate for Papius Arundel boil. She wanted him to be included too. Sierra nodded her head to El-Nay's statement. "Yes. I cannot leave immediately. I need to formulate a better plan before I run off to see Jelena." Maybe she should send El-Nay in her place to collect Jelena and bring her to Esseles for some family time. She sighed. If only Julius and Livia had never brought her to the Rebellion...

"Doctor Tohan? Doctor Bailo?!" Sierra was surprised to see them too. "What's going on? Is everyone okay?" She voiced the question Claudius was not able to.

Zara was up and to Sierra in a heartbeat. "Sister! Hi!" She gave Sierra a quick hug. "Who's this?" She said, standing in front of Claudius. "El-Nay, is this your boyfriend? I thought something was going on between you and that other lady. . ." She couldn't quite remember the Clawdite's name. Her sister's question made her redirect her attention. "Oh! Everyone is *great*! Marcus and I are going to have another baby!" Zara reported, "..or two." She said under her breath, hoping her ovaries would gift her with a single baby pregnancy. "Doctor Bailo and Doctor Tohan came to confirm it. You would never believe what happened! Ewwiekewwieikkie smelled it out! She even gave me back my ice cream for the baby." Zara was already glowing. She was very happy.

"Daddeeee?" Melickielickie sniffed at the air. "Mommeee?! Dadddeee!?" She looked at Sierra, then to the man wearing funny clothing behind her. Melickielickie's attention was only for her father, who she darted straight forward to. Her small body collided with his legs. "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" She nuzzled her head against him.

El-Nay was certainly glad she was wearing a helmet, because the look on her face when Zara teased her about Kerrie was one of anguish and pain. Beneath her helmet she let out a sigh, turning her attention around the crowd that was surging. "He's not my boyfriend," she muttered, as she looked toward the castle rather than the individuals in the garden. As to Kerrie, she said nothing, but moved as far away from the group as she could while still being able to protect Sierra if need be.

Claudius was shocked when Zara revealed she was pregnant again. He wondered if there was something in the water that was causing all of these pregnancies. "Milady, we should collect the children and retire," he said to his wife, as it was painful for him to remain here in disguise. He was tired, still overwhelmed from the trial, and wanted to get back to Esseles. But, before any of that could happen the one thing he did not plan on happened ... Melickielickie. When she hugged him excitedly, he moved his hand to gently pat her on the back so her feelings would not be hurt, but he was hesitant to fully embrace her. They had some 'splainin' to do.

"No!" Sierra snapped at the accusation that Claudius and El-Nay ever could be a thing. Her face turned red. "Um, congratulations, Zara. I'm happy for both of you." Sierra sounded distracted. With a nod of her head, she briefly rested her hand on Claudius'. "Yes, yes. You're right. It's been a long trip. I want to go home." Between the gesture of affection from Sierra, and Melickie's happy huggles, the identity of the man in the armor was becoming more and more obvious. "We need to go." She said to Claudius anxiously as she bent down to scoop up her youngest Squib adoptive daughter into her arms. "We're going home now, Melickielickie. Ewwiekewwieikkie, I think I saw some Wookiee Cookies on the shuttle."

"Daddyyyy!" Melickielickie insisted in her mother's arms. She reached her paws out for the armored man. As soon as her mother was close enough, she transferred over into his arms. She pressed her head against his chest plate. "What's this? It hard. It funky." She knocked on it. "Is it food? I eat this, yes?"

Claudius took hold of Melickielickie still uncertain of what to do. He cradled the young Squib in his arms, who then began to attempt to eat his armor. "We *really* need to go, milady," he said to Sierra, as he started towards the door. "Shh, Melickielickie," he said, trying to get her to calm down. "There's candy on the shuttle," he told her, wondering how much the others picked up on what was going on. He did not mind anyone there knowing, but it was always possible Governor Arundel had sent up monitoring devices ... particularly now that he was in league with Colonel Zevrin.

"Okay. We go now!" Ewwiekewwieikkie declared before moving towards Marcus to give him hugs and kisses. Then she moved to Zara to give her hugs and kisses. Then she went on to Doctor Tohan to give him hugs and kisses. Then she went on to Doctor Bailo to give him hugs and kisses. Then she went on to the nanny droid, who she had never met before, to give it hugs and kisses. And finally she went to Callista to give her hugs and kisses. She was exhausted from all the hugs and kisses. "Woosh," she said, as she brought her arm up to her forehead and exhaled in a dramatic sigh. "Family too big. Stop with the babies," she complained, before trying to catch up to Claudius and Sierra.

"Oooo! Candy!" Melickielickie stopped gnawing at the armor. It hurt her teeth and felt funny on her mouth. "This is fun!" She enjoyed being held and likely would have spent all day in her father's arms if it were allowed. "Baiii baii!" She called out to all of her new friends and family. "Hurry, sissy! Hurry!"

"I wish that they got that excited about broccoli." Sierra admitted. They quickly scurried back up to the top of the castle where the Kwai shuttle awaited them. She hustled everyone inside quickly then made her way to the cockpit. "That was too close." She commented to Claudius. Once Sierra was sure that El-Nay was also aboard the ship, she didn't hesitate in taking off. She focused herself on safely piloting her family from Delaya back to Esseles.

As Claudius neared the shuttle carrying Melickielickie he noticed that an Auntie Mae's speeder truck was present and they were unloading the components of a kiosk that was to be set up in the castle. "Please don't let the girls see. Please don't let the girls see. Please don't let the girls see," he began quietly praying to himself, as he hurried aboard the shuttle. As soon as they were on board he hit the button to raise the ramp. "Ok. Melickielickie, Ewwiekewwieikkie, El-Nay ... that's everyone," he said, with relief as he got everyone aboard. He removed his helmet and then painfully took his chest plate off. "Not food," he told the Squibs, before he moved towards the cockpit to sit in the co-pilot's seat. "Sierra, take me home," he said, with some sorrow in his voice. Home was no longer this ancient castle. Home was with his family wherever they were. He reached across the center console to place his hand upon her thigh, giving it a reassuring squeeze that was more for him than her.

It had been incredibly difficult to calm both Squibs into falling asleep that night. The girls had been overly excited from their trip. Sierra had heard both girls recount their tales in their various ways. They had somehow talked Sierra into reading five different Rainbow Rancor stories, singing three songs, and engaging in a gentle pounce party. Thanks to a recording of Meham'ohorovi'cloca's last tactical meeting, Sierra had Bruce out in no time. "Goodnight, my little prince." She said to their son as she tucked the boy into his bassinet. The recording continued to play on a loop to ensure the boy fell into a deep sleep before stopping.

"Oh my goodness, what a day." Sierra unbuttoned the collar of her tunic and began to take it off. "Let's take a bath and unwind." She suggested, tossing her tunic into the hamper. She did not wait for an answer. Instead, she turned her back and headed into the bathroom. Thankfully, no one was attempting to flush silverware.

"That sounds like a lovely idea. I need to get the stench of that armor and bubble gum off me," Claudius said, not understanding how the armor came to smell like that. "So are you and Zara having a competition as to who get get pregnant the most?" he teased her, surprised with the news that the family was growing by leaps and bounds. "Someone should warn Iyah," he said, with a laugh, as he moved into the refresher to get the bath prepared. As the water began to fill he was content to be the first into the tub and begin to relax. So much had happened and soon his forces would be engaged in battle again.

Drusilla opened the door to her room, crept down the hall, and popped into her parent's room. She approached the bassinet, looking down at her baby brother for the first time. "I could have watched you, you know. I'm old enough," she said, which was enough to wake him up. "So you're the boy daddy wanted so badly. That my mom died trying to give him," she said, before reaching in and taking hold of him, causing him to stir. "Well. You're kind of cute," she said, begrudgingly, as she looked down at his face, his blonde, and the nerf embellishment on his jumper.

Sierra continued to undress along her way to the refresher. She laughed, acting offended. "You know, last time I looked at your family tree, you didn't exactly have a small family. I'm an only child! That doesn't come from the Dakkar side. I think you and Marcus are competing. Tsk, tsk. Least you could do is tell me." Sierra paused at the mirror to undo her hair. She snickered. "I should, because she married a Rodney and no Rodney male can keep his hands to himself." Sierra turned around, nude and ready for a nice, long bath. She was smiling brightly. The news of her pregnancy made her very happy. It took two to tango, after all. She began to settle in the bath. She was unaware that they were no longer alone ... for now.

Inside of the bassinet, Bruce was lying asleep. He had already kicked off the blanket his mother had covered him with. The boy slowly stirred to the sound of someone's voice. His eyes opened, now rapidly turning from baby blue to brown. The sight of his sister made him smile brightly and let out a squeal of delight. He reached his arms out towards her and wiggled in his bassinet, silently beckoning her to pick him up.

"We need to win this next battle," Claudius reminded Sierra, as with all the setbacks lately they needed one positive to cling to. "Nevermind. Forget I even brought it up. I don't want to even hear about it," he said, as he allowed himself to slip into the water and allow the warm liquid to sooth not just his body, but his soul as well. "I am sorry that we were not able to see Gaius put to death, and that Arundel and Zevrin outmaneuvered us," he reminded her, unable to stop himself. "No. Don't mention that either," he said, as he moved forward to embrace her, laying his head on his shoulder and trying to just forget.

"Don't make any noise," Drusilla said to Bruce, as she moved to sit down with him in the chair by the window. As she looked down at him she tried to understand why the family valued him more than her. Why it was so important to her grandparents. Why her mother gave her life in pursuit of one. She studied the features of his face. His burgeoning blonde locks. Nothing she saw looked better than her. It was a terrible thing that her life resulted in her mother's death, and not a day went by when it did not weigh on her. She brought her hand to her brother's head, gently caressing his hair and head. "Just so we're clear. I'm you're *older* sister so I'm the boss," she informed him, laying the groundwork early.

Though Bruce was very young, his attention span seemed much greater than his age. He was intent on listening to Drusilla, and much happier once he had been picked up from his bassinet. In kicking off his blankets, the boy had gotten cold. Now there was a warm human for him to cuddle. He could say nothing to her, but it seemed like they had reached an understanding.

Sierra opened her mouth to make a comment on the next battle on Brentaal IV, then stopped herself. She opened her mouth again as he brought up the situation on Delaya. Again, she fell silent. Instead of answering him, she wrapped her arms around Claudius. Her chin rested on top of his head. "Relax. I'm going to be at your side for all of it, even as we stand at the holotank attempting to not fall asleep at Meham'ohorovi'cloca's voice. I'll especially be there when we take a nap afterwards." Sierra was only half-kidding about the last part. Her head lifted from his suddenly. "Did you hear that?" She asked him. "I thought I heard Bruce.. Or a Squib. Did I lock the door?" She was pulled from her relaxation while she worried that Ewwiekewwieikkie would see something she shouldn't see. "Oh, let me go check." She groaned, slowly untangling their limbs. Once she was out of the shower, she slid into her robe. Sierra only made it to the entryway to the refresher when she stopped. In the sitting area of their room, she spotted Drusilla and Bruce having a moment...their first moment. She bit her lip. Awww! From ten feet away, she could see how happy Bruce looked at his sister. Sierra thought about interrupting the moment then decided not to. It was too perfect for her to disturb it.

Slowly, she crept back into the bathroom, removed the robe, and settled into the bath. "Drusilla is out there holding Bruce." She whispered. "Neither one of them seemed unhappy."

Claudius was just getting comfortable snuggling against his wife in the soothing bath water when a noise startled her and prompted her to go and check. As Bruce was her first biological child it was understandable that she was overprotected and needed to check, but he had been through this twice before and assumed everything was alright. However, when she returned and informed him that Drusilla was with Bruce he found himself incredibly surprised. "She's ... she's out of her room?" he asked, as he expected herself to hole up inside of there for the remainder of her days. "Well. That's good..." he said, cautiously, as he was used to Drusilla always having an ulterior motive, but as this was happening in private there did seem to be some sincerity behind it.

"They are sitting together. I couldn't hear what she was saying, but she was talking to him for sure." Sierra glanced towards the door. She had never thought that Drusilla was capable of holding a baby. She tried to resume cuddling in that comfortable position while they spoke. "I've been thinking about her a lot. Dru closed us off so much since the whole Pollix ordeal. I certainly haven't been putting the kind of effort in our relationship that I could be. I want to improve things. I want her to feel like she can come talk to me. She's never really had the chance to have a mother. I'd like to change that." She confessed to him, showcasing where her own weaknesses were. "I love her too."

Claudius needed his cuddles, and as the conversation turned to his youngest daughter and most troubled child he was not sure of what to do. "It is a dangerous journey reaching Drusilla," he confided in her, wishing he had been a better father to her. "Millennia ago before intergalactic travel when the people of Alderaan were living in simple structures and exploring their world was as difficult as venturing into the Unknown Regions was to us they did their best to created limited maps of the planet," he began telling her, on a seemingly unrelated story that might have gave her a moment's pause that he had cracked or had early onset dementia. "These maps were some of the greatest treasures in the archives of the University of Alderaan before the Rebellion destroyed the planet," he continued, still sounding as if he was rambling on. "Not knowing what was beyond the edge of the map they wrote a cryptic, naive warning ... 'there be dragons'," he said to her, before lifting his head off her and looked at her seriously. He leaned out of the tub and pointed towards the room with Drusilla. "There be dragons," he reminded her, before moving his face back towards her to share a kiss with her.

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